Cloistered: My Years as a Nun (Hardback)
  • Cloistered: My Years as a Nun (Hardback)
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Cloistered: My Years as a Nun (Hardback)

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Hardback 352 Pages
Published: 07/03/2024
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Waterstones Says

A multi-layered memoir of Coldstream's twelve years as a nun in Akenside Priory, Cloistered is unflinching in its depiction of both the spiritual succour a life devoted to God provides and the all-too-flawed human beings in charge of religious institutions.

After the shock of her father’s death, and with her family scattered, twenty-four-year old Catherine was left grieving and alone. A search for meaning led her to Roman Catholicism and the nuns of Akenside Priory.

Cloistered takes us beyond the grille of an enclosed monastic world with its tight-knit community of dedicated women. We see Catherine, praying in the spareness of her simple cell, tilling the land or singing at Lauds, a novice who has found peace in an ancient way of life.

But as she surrenders to her final vows, all is not as it seems behind the Priory’s closed doors. Power struggles erupt, and the hothouse atmosphere turns to conflict – with far-reaching consequences for those within.

Catherine comes to realise that divine authority is mediated through flawed and all-too-human channels. She is faced with a dilemma: should she protect the serenity she has found, or speak out?

A love song to a lost community and an honest account of her twelve years in the Order, Cloistered is also a cautionary tale about what can happen when good people cut themselves off from the wider world.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781784745059
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 561 g
Dimensions: 242 x 165 x 32 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

‘An immersive, beautifully observed study of the monastic mind, and the forces that can disrupt and unsettle it. Reading it, I felt the gravitational pull of silence and ecstatic connection’ - Katherine May, author of Wintering

‘I admired [CLOISTERED] enormously for its lucid evocative prose, but most of all for the sincerity and candour with which Coldstream writes about her faith, as a transformative and intimate relation with God’ - Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent

'A profoundly moving memoir which gripped me in a way I simply did not expect. It’s about spirituality and asceticism and silence and sisterhood, but also about how flawed human beings can abuse power and how hermetically sealed communities, which should care for and protect to their members, can be dangerously vulnerable to threats from inside their walls' - Mark Haddon, author of The Porpoise

'Few books achieve what this does in giving a really physical sense of the monastic environment - its sounds and smells, the round of seasons, the sensations in the fingers as they work in kitchen or garden. Catherine Coldstream leaves us recognizing both the beauty and depth of this experience and the churning risks of a life where accountability and spiritual authority are constantly in tension' - Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury

'Fascinating ... takes its place in a rich tradition of writing about convent life by ex-nuns, and is distinguished by its passionate, lyrical writing, which perfectly expresses the author's ardent search for meaning, freedom and love’ - Michèle Roberts, author of Daughters of the House

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“So you want to be a Nun”

I was always fascinated in the life of a Nun especially since one of my Aunts was a Nun but left and the movie "The Nun's story," with Audrey Hepburn, and this story filled in all the blanks of why... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 3

“Beautiful”

This is the best book I have read for a long time, in fact at the end I almost wanted to start reading it again. I loved the way the chapters were organised, each one an explanation about an aspect of life in a... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 0

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